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New Zealand’s Agritech Sector Vital To Country’s Economic Growth

AUCKLAND, 1 July 2022 – Technology Investment Network (TIN) has released its third annual New Zealand Agritech Insights Report, providing compelling analysis of the size and scope of the country’s leading Agritech export companies, along with a pipeline of promising Agritech companies.

Launched at an event at Waikato Innovation Park last night, the report provides a closer look into New Zealand’s agricultural technology sector based on data from TIN’s 2021 survey results, including size and significance, key export markets, investment opportunities, and a comprehensive directory of nearly 110 Pipeline Agritech companies -- those from pre-revenue up to $3.5m revenue.

Agritech continues to be one of the biggest and most innovative sectors in the TIN200, New 
Zealand’s 200 largest technology ‘exporters’. According to the 2021 TIN Report, it is a $1.6B industry, providing 11.4% of the TIN200 total revenue.

“The report celebrates the hard-won success and growth of the dynamic Agritech sector that plays to all the strengths of our historical reliance on farmers, horticulturalists, acquaculturalists and apiarists,” said Greg Shanahan, managing director of TIN.

“The Government’s multi-agency Agritech Industry Transformation Plan is focusing on growing the sector into a stronger economic contributor and increasing exports from the most innovative and forward-thinking Agritech companies,” Mr Shanahan added.

The industry is dominated by the Animal and Crop Health, Data Solutions and Post-Harvest sub-sectors, building on the international success of established New Zealand Agritech companies such as Gallagher Group, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) and TOMRA Fresh Foods. Together, these three Waikato-based companies were responsible for just over 50% of the TIN200 Agritech revenue in 2021.

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“This year’s TIN Agritech Insights Report is another marker in the growth of the sector, and importantly, the growing levels of collaboration that will enable still higher growth rates in coming years,” said Brendan O’Connell, Chief Executive of AgriTech New Zealand, themembership-funded organisation that promotes opportunities and challenges raised by Agritech.

Key statistics on the Agritech sector (taken from the TIN NZ Agritech Insights Report 2022, and based on 2021 TIN Report data)

11.0% of TIN200 companies are Agritech firms, and together they generated $1.6B in revenue in 2021; 11.4% of the total TIN200 revenue

TIN200 Agritech companies generated $118m revenue growth; 8.2% of TIN200 growth

Total Agritech exports: $814.9.m (51.1% of total revenue)

Export growth: $49.0m (up 6.4% on 2020)

North America is the largest export market for Agritech (19.6% of total export revenue)

Average sector wage: $94,956 (TIN200 average wage: $88,005)

Average revenue per employee: $296,197 (TIN200 average: $243,570)

Investment in Sales and Marketing: $261.7m (up 7.1% on 2020)

Investment in Wages and Salary: $511.7m (up 8.6% on 2020)

Investment in R&D: $115.6.m (up 6.5% on 2020)

Average company age: 25 years (TIN200 average: 28 years)

5-year CAGR: 14.6% (TIN200 5-year CAGR: 10.9%)

More than 5,000 people employed globally with 72.5% of those in New Zealand (3,910 people)

Auckland/Northland and Central North Island are the regions with the highest number of Agritech companies (29 each); followed by Hamilton/Waikato (24) and Canterbury/Upper South Island (21)

Key Agritech sector insights (taken from the TIN NZ Agritech Insights Report 2022, and based on 2021 TIN Report data)

High-tech Manufacturing continues to dominate the sector 

New Zealand’s Agritech sector is primarily dominated by High-tech Manufacturing companies, which make up 13 of the 22 Agritech firms in the TIN200. High-tech Manufacturing firms, such as Gallagher Group, TOMRA Fresh Food and NDA Group, account for more than 70% of the sector’s revenue.

Opportunities for investment as global economy recovers

Investment in the Agritech sector followed the trend of investment levels across all sectors – a sharp spike in investment in 2021 as the global economy started to recover from the impact of COVID-19 in 2020. Agritech companies in this report (TIN200 and pipeline) received more than $15m of investment across 11 deals, which includes both seed and follow-on funding

Labour shortages creates opportunities and innovation 

Domestic labour shortages and border restrictions have forced Agritech companies to look at automation and data integration to improve productivity and drive growth. This has created opportunities for a range of technologies, such as cow wearables, crop health and harvesting. The disruption to regular supply chains has also led to Agritech companies re-evaluating and streamlining their approach to search for more cost-effective alternatives.

The New Zealand Agritech Insights Report was commissioned by the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), a partnership involving the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation and AgriTech NZ; with additional support from ASX, Hamilton City Council and NZ Growth Capital Partners.

Copies of the Report are available for download here.

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